Posts Tagged ‘Plum Creek Cellars’

Plum Creek Winery

Ever wonder about all the various aromas and bouquets associated with wine?? Plum Creek Cellars had an incredible display of “smells” at their “Barreling into Spring” event last weekend — May 18 and 19. (see pictures below) Its amazing to think how many smells and tastes can be experienced in a wine. Plum Creek’s display included fruits such as black current, raspberry and cherry as well as those associated with oak aging such as smoke, tar, chocolate and leather and samples of herbal and floral aromas. Anytime you have the opportunity to experience a “wine aroma wheel” take advantage of this as it will help you increase your nose’s ability to perceive a variety of smells.

But let’s talk about what Plum Creek Cellars really has to offer…delicious wines! In case you are not familiar with Cabernet Franc its a grape that grows very well in Colorado, in fact it could be Colorado’s signature grape. Many wineries here as well as around the world use Cab Franc more in their red wine blends. It was in 1992 that a former winemaker at Plum Creek was the first to bottle the grape on its own in Colorado, and since then Plum Creek has continued this practice. The winery offers a variety of  other wines….Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc for their whites and a wide variety of reds including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah. They are also known for their “Palisade” series….Red, Festival and Rosé and their Grand Mesa Meritage.  Since 1998 all these wines are produced under the watchful eye and expertise of winemaker Jenne Baldwin-Eaton.

Plum Creek is in the heart of Palisade, being one of the first to open up a tasting room and plant their vineyards in the area. Owner Sue Phillips and her late husband, Doug, were pioneers in producing wine from only Colorado-grown grapes. The winery has vineyards in the Grand Valley AVA and West Elks AVA (near Paonia). FYI – AVA stands for American Viticultural Area, a USA  designated area for growing grapes, of which Colorado has two.

The tasting room staff is knowledgeable and welcoming, and Sue Phillips makes you feel like you just arrived at her home to share a good time and a delicious glass of wine. Plum Creek Cellars is a “definite stop” when in Palisade!! Their wine is also available at many liquor stores throughout Colorado, so if you can’t get to Palisade in the near future, pick up a bottle of their wine and hold your own tasting party!


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DeBeque Canyon Winery

Combine tasting wine right out of the barrel, delicious food, talking with the winemaker and what do you have?? “Barreling into Spring!” The Grand Valley Winery Association‘s event is over for 2013 (happens once in April and once in May) but you can put it on your 2014 calendar to make sure you don’t miss it next year. The event is limited to 400 people for each month and sells out quickly, so check the association’s website often for ticket sales.

I had the privilege of selling and signing my book – Exploring Colorado Wineries at both DeBeque Canyon Winery and Plum Creek Cellars during the May event. Today’s blog is about DeBeque and my next blog will highlight Plum Creek.

DeBeque Canyon Winery is one of the “old guys” in the Grand Valley region, having begun their operation in 1997. Owner and winemaker Bennett Price along with his wife, Davelyn (Davy), are two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. Bennett was one of the original 12 investors in Rocky Mountain Vineyards, the first winery here in the state to make wine from Colorado grapes. He has also planted many of the Grand Valley’s wineries’ and vineyards’ grape vines over the years, so needless to say…he knows his stuff!!

The Price’s make a variety of wines. To name a few… Chardonnay, Riesling and Viognier as examples of their whites and Cab Franc, Merlot, Syrah and Tempranillo for their reds. They also had two port-style wines they were offering during the barrel tasting…one was a port made with just Merlot that had spent 6+ years in French oak, and they offered dark chocolate to accompany it. I wish my vocabulary had better words to describe it than just “delicious.” I guess you’ll just have to taste it for yourself!!

The first stop/table at DeBeque’s was sampling their white wines, the second stop was sampling a few of their reds. You then stopped at the food table where chicken tacos and lamb puffs were featured to pair with the wine. The food was catered by Craving. Owner and chef Jonathan Rashleigh operates a mobile catering service. Contact him at 970-640-5114 to have him cater your next event!

The next and best stop, and the real reason for the “Barreling into Spring” event is to taste wine right out of the barrel! Bennett explained his wine making process and answered questions. He is thoroughly knowledgeable about what it takes to make exceptional wine in Colorado.

It was a fun day and the people attending the event had a wonderful time. Whether its barrel tasting or just sampling their wines (no fee!!) a stop at DeBeque Canyon Winery is a “must do” when you are in Palisade!!

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Barreling into Spring!

Its going to be busy in the Grand Valley this weekend….the “Barreling into Spring” event is taking place! The event is organized by the Grand Valley Winery Association, which includes 8 wineries:

  1. Canyon Wind Cellars
  2. Carlson Vineyards
  3. DeBeque Canyon Winery
  4. Garfield Estates
  5. Grande River Vineyards
  6. Graystone Winery
  7. Plum Creek Cellars
  8. Two Rivers Winery

Each winery offers a little different variety…from fruit wines to traditional wines to port. I would tell you to get your ticket and stop on in at theses wineries, but the event is sold out! If you are in the mood for a visit to the Grand Valley this weekend, there are 15 other wineries that will have their tasting rooms open and invite you to stop on by.

I will be selling and signing my book – Exploring Colorado Wineries-Guidebook & Journal at DeBeque Canyon Winery on Saturday, May 18 from 11 to 3 and Sunday, May 19 also from 11 to 3 at Plum Creek Cellars.

With our warm weather and the beginning of summer approaching, its time to “Explore and Enjoy” Colorado wines!!


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Winery Visit – Plum Creek Cellars

The last stop on my Grand Valley tour was at Plum Creek Cellars. I had an amazing time with owner, Sue Phillips, and learned about the history of Plum Creek as well as how the Colorado wine industry began. Plus I had the opportunity to taste some of their delicious wines.

Plum Creek holds Colorado winery license #10 and began in 1984. They didn’t start out in the Grand Valley like you would imagine, but in Larkspur where they built their winery and tasting room. Hence the name…Plum Creek, which by the way, flooded in 1965 and that is why Chatfield Resevior was built. In a picture below you can see an etched glass that was the front window of the tasting room and is the only remaining item. Doug and Sue Phillips were pioneers in the early days of Colorado winemaking. In 1980 they leased land in Garvin Mesa near Paonia (which later would become a wine mecca of its own!) and realized they could grow grapes there. Their basic premise was to make estate bottled Colorado wine…something that was new and different for Colorado. And have they succeded!!!

In 1989 they moved their winery and facility to Palisade. Sue says when they chose the land and began planting their vines, there was nothing around them. Its hard for us to imagine all that has happened in the Grand Valley in the past 23 years! In 1994, the Phillips hired current winemaker Jenne Baldwin, who certainly knows her trade. Jenne makes an incredible Chardonnay, something you don’t always find in Colorado. The Palisade Red is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. My favorite was the Grand Mesa.

Plum Creek’s tasting room is a fun experience. You can check out their “mascot” at the entrance – known as the Chardonnay Chicken (see picture below). But if you can’t get to their tasting room in Palisade, their wines are available  in numerous liquor stores across the state.

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